Jan
31
2010

IPCC science settles in transit. #rsrh

Oh, my aching head. Via Drudge:

UN climate change panel based claims on student dissertation and magazine article

The United Nations’ expert panel on climate change based claims about ice disappearing from the world’s mountain tops on a student’s dissertation and an article in a mountaineering magazine.

Well, maybe there was still actual science going on…

…one of the sources quoted was a feature article published in a popular magazine for climbers which was based on anecdotal evidence from mountaineers about the changes they were witnessing on the mountainsides around them.

The other was a dissertation written by a geography student, studying for the equivalent of a master’s degree, at the University of Berne in Switzerland that quoted interviews with mountain guides in the Alps.

Or not.

Moe Lane

PS: Here’s a little secret about scientific consensus, folks: it assumes – it has to assume – that trusted users are not lying. Nobody can check everything, all the time, so eventually you have to rely on people not abusing the fact that they’re going to have their word taken on their results.

It generally works, too. You have to remember that.  Most scientists play be the rules, which is why we continue to see scientific and technological advances.  But when they don’t play by the rules, you get scandals like this.

3 Comments

  • Skip says:

    It does generally work, but there are quite a few examples where it didn’t. Feynman made a speech a long time ago about cargo cult science, and some of the examples in it are fascinating. A guy named Millikan did an experiment back in 1909 to determine the charge on an electron. He came up with a value that was very slightly wrong. And an interesting thing happened. As scientists repeated the experiment, they kept reporting values ever so slightly higher, until finally they started reporting values that were basically correct.

    So what was happening? Well, scientists would get a value that was outside of the errors on an earlier calculation, and assume that they’d done something wrong and throw out the data and try again. No fraud or lying was necessary, other than misleading ones self. I fully believe that there are, in fact, a few snake oil salesmen in the climage change community who are absolutely committing criminal fraud, but almost everyone else is suffuring from this effect.

    And its not a new phenomenon. It was happening enough in 1974 that Feynman felt he needed to speak about it, and it’s happening today.

  • Mr. Xyz says:

    This spoof of climate science may be of interest:

    http://climaterealists.com/?id=4960

  • Stan Pruss says:

    AGW is more like the Russian biologist Lysenko than the Millikan effect.

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